What do you do when plans change?

I recently experienced some unpleasantness in my life. It all started with me taking some vacation time. I was really looking forward to this time off. I had big plans to do nothing. I was going to spend some significant time writing for my ministry. I wanted to paint some furniture. I was having a great week until Andrew got sick. He had ear infections and strep throat. At some point during that week I also got sick. My plans had changed.

Let’s fast forward a month and here I am in the process of preparing to take more time off. I am starting to feel better and so this vacation is coming at the right time. I really need a break so I begin to make plans. Marji was formulating her own list for me. Hello sickness! My plans changed.

Let’s fast forward to approximately one week ago. The illness has mostly run its course. The kids were feeling good. Marji is doing well. We just had our first ultrasound so we were feeling good. We had started to discuss some logistical things that need to happen before the baby gets here.

One of those conversations was regarding the age of our vehicles. Optimus had issues but Rocket was strong. The kids named our vehicles. Mine is Optimus and Marji’s is Rocket. So, we figured within the next year we could find something that worked. At or around 12:30 a.m., last Sunday morning, someone plowed into Rocket, she was totaled. Our plans changed.

So, imagine if you will that you are a respected business man. You are kind and fair. You are a righteous man. You are obedient to the Lord and you practice self-control. Life is going well. You have thriving carpentry business. You are well liked. You are about to be married to a special girl. She shows up at your house and utters the words “I am pregnant.” Your plans have changed.

Plan

Ok, so obviously we are talking about Joseph, Jesus’s father.

Matthew 1:18 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

What Joseph did here was pretty incredible. At this time the marriage custom was quite different than what we practice today. There were two separate parts to the marriage procedure. The first part was called betrothal and it was locked in, rock solid, and binding. The only way that you are walking away from part 1 was death or divorce. Once you were betrothed the bride stayed with her family for several months before she joined her husband in his home, then and only then could they live together as man and wife.

Mary was betrothed to Joseph but she had not yet moved into his home. So, when she says, “Hey Joe, I got some news.” It was not a happy occasion. Like anybody at this point in history she knew that if Joseph chose to he could end her. In his mind she would have been considered unfaithful and the price for adultery was stoning. The scriptures tell us 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. This was a benevolent decision on his part. He had decided to save her life.

I have always pictured Joseph lying on a pallet sleeping. The Lord’s messenger lights up the room, Joseph is groggy and the angel is sort of floating above him with his holy robes fluttering in the breeze. Next an angel of the Lord appears to him and tells him this will be a Holy kid, be a stand-up guy and name him Jesus. He is going to do great things. Hey Joe, Plans change.

Christmas is next week. The end of the year is just around the corner. My question for you this morning is what do you do when plans change?

Romans 10:13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Listening to the voice,

Jeremy

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